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Ahmadinejad Says Popular Discontent At An Unprecedented Level


Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a recent protest gathering of supporters near Tehran.

Deeply engaged in a war of words and a face-off with the judiciary, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has now tried to involve Iran’s supreme leader, as well.

In an open letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ahmadinejad bitterly criticizes the inefficiency of the three branches of government, particularly the judiciary.

Ahmadinejad accuses the judiciary of illegally and unjustifiably serving the personal and political interests of its own leaders.

The judiciary, according to Ahmadinejad, by illegally using its power in favor of its own personal, political, and family interests, has eliminated any hope of Iran’s justice system being reformed.

“Popular discontent about the conditions in the country and the judicial organs [has reached] an unprecedented level” Ahmadinejad says.

“Today, unfortunately a mere minority…considers itself the absolute owner of the country, the revolution and feudal lords of the people, with the unquestionable right to rule”, Ahmadinejad writes.

He adds that this minority representing a “few families” rejects all other opinions and clamps down on freedom of speech.

This degree of harsh criticism by an Iranian politician residing in the country and directly addressing the Supreme Leader is unprecedented.

The reformists, who are the loyal opposition, in a narrow sense, do criticize but they usually use a more cautious tone and do not directly address Khamenei.

In fact, Ahmadinejad’s letter can be seen as a judgement on the Supreme Leader’s record.

A handout photo provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader showing former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting him at a hospital in Tehran on September 8, 2014, after his prostate opertion.
A handout photo provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader showing former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting him at a hospital in Tehran on September 8, 2014, after his prostate opertion.

​Khamenei has remained largely silent on the ongoing conflict between Ahmadinejad and Iran's judiciary. While Ahmadinejad still feels he can be vocal and challenge powerful officials, it is not clear when the Supreme Leader might run out of patience.

Either by choice or censorship, the local media so far have stayed out of the ongoing feud.

The only outlet reflecting Ahmadinejad and his close allies’ comments is the Dolatebahar (the Government of Spring) website, which openly promotes the former president’s political views.

Ahmadinejad recently intensified his attacks on the judiciary, lamenting, “We were not supposed to have a dictatorship run by the judiciary.”

Describing the country’s judiciary as “more powerful than the supreme leader,” Ahmadinejad insists Iran’s Justice Department has lost its credibility.

By openly saying the country’s judicial branch is more powerful than the supreme leader and is not supervised by any higher authority, Iran’s former president unleashed harsh criticism against the regime.

Ahmadinejad attacked the judiciary and its leader, Sadegh Larijani, in a video interview published on November 23, for prosecuting his allies. He said that due to the poor performance of the judiciary and its neglect of justice, “the whole country is in danger.” Several allies of the former president have either been convicted or face pending trials.

Larijani is reported to have transferred millions of dollars of his institution’s income to his private accounts. Unconfirmed reports also allege that his daughter has been charged with espionage for the British Embassy in Tehran. However, the government and judiciary have denied both allegations.

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